TechBytes Episode 33: Patent ‘Thieves’ and News That Deceives

Posted in TechBytes at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:16:04, 22.9 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (34.8 MB)

Summary: Tim, Gordon, and Roy meet after a long time and catch up with interesting news

IN THIS relatively short episode we finally have Tim back online (ISP issue) and we have discussions about GNU/Linux, desktop environments, patents, Monsanto, copyrights, and even British media (including criticism of the BBC and Rupert Murdoch).

Update: show notes are out

RSS 64x64The show ends with “tears” (the song). We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

January 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 23: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions 2/1/2011
Episode 24: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 24: Android, Microsoft’s President Departure, and Privacy 10/1/2011
Episode 25: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 25: Mono, Ubuntu, Android, and More 14/1/2011
Episode 26: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 26: £98 GNU/Linux Computer, Stuxnet’s Government Roots, and More 18/1/2011
Episode 27: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 27: Linux Phones, Pardus, Trusting One’s Government-funded Distribution, and Much More 22/1/2011
Episode 28: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 28: The Weekend After Microsoft’s Results and LCA 30/1/2011
Episode 29: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 29: KDE, Other Desktop Environments, and Programming 31/1/2011

February 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 30: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 30: Microsoft at FOSDEM, Debian Release, and Anonymous 7/2/2011
Episode 31: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 31: Nokiasoft and Computer Games 13/2/2011
Episode 32: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 32: Desktop Environments, Computer Games, Android and Ubuntu as the ‘New Linux’, Copyright Mentality 22/2/2011

Links 6/3/2011: Fedora 16 Codenames, Android Grows in Tablet Market

Posted in News Roundup at 2:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • 3 Good Reasons To Buy an Open-PC

      As of December, however, another option emerged that’s well worth checking out–it’s even better, in fact, from the perspective of software freedom. It’s called the Open-PC, and it offers “a PC for everyday use built by the Linux community for the Linux community,” in the project’s own words.

    • ZaReason Teo Pro Netbook: Test Drive Ready for Takeoff

      I’ve had an affinity for netbooks since they entered public consciousness sometime in late 2008. Despite the limitations of my Dell Mini 9, I loved it dearly. Now that Atom CPUs are getting more powerful, drives are getting smaller, and components are maturing, ZaReason has decided to pack together a good chunk of that new hardware into its new Teo Pro Netbook, and the company was kind enough to send me a review unit. Here are some first impressions …

      Check out the full tech specs of the Teo Pro here, but the unit packs 2GB of RAM and a 1.66 GHz Atom CPU. SSD options are available, but my unit came equipped with 160GB HDD.

    • Canada’s government ought to adopt Linux on all its computers

      In mid February there were news reports that Canadian government computers at the Finance Department, Treasury Board, Defence Research and Development Canada had been hacked and information mined by persons unknown, most probably operating out of China.

      The federal government said little about this but confirmed that as soon as the activity, which began in January, was discovered the affected departments were immediately shut off from the Internet and a long, difficult process was begun to see if any other departments had been affected.


      But best of all, Linux is open source software (the programming code is available to anybody and free for programmers to use and adapt). Government programmers can write their own programs or additions to programs for whatever they need, without restriction. They can get exactly the kind and level of security they want and the specifications will be unique, making the job of hackers much harder since every such system is different. What might work in one for a hacker won’t in another.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange: What really went wrong

      The London Stock Exchange has made a U-turn on the system requirements placed on data vendors such as Thomson Reuters, Interactive Data and Bloomberg, after three weeks of problems since the launch of its new trading platform.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.03.04

      Topics for this podcast:

      *Advantec switches to open source to deliver HR as a service
      *Erlang Solutions solves devops problems with open source programming
      *art of defence and Qualys open source security projects
      *EnterpriseDB benefits from focus on PostgreSQL community
      *Puppet Labs steps up commercial play with Puppet Enterprise

    • Episode 157: Floating in the Air
  • Kernel Space

    • Yocto and OpenEmbedded Combine Forces: What Does It Mean?

      Two major embedded Linux projects formally joined their efforts this week, a move that simplifies the landscape for device makers and embedded software developers. Yocto, a Linux Foundation (LF)-stewarded project that creates development tools, and OpenEmbedded, a community-driven distribution build system, announced their “alignment” on March 1st. The merger includes governance changes and new corporate collaborators, but for the average Linux developer, the main effect will be a streamlined embedded development process.

    • A Week With OpenBenchmarking.org

      OpenBenchmarking.org has now been live for just under one week since launching it (and Phoronix Test Suite 3.0) from the Southern California Linux Expo when talking about making more informed Linux hardware choices. Here’s some statistics on how it’s going.

    • A 13 Line Patch That Boosts Intel Sandy Bridge Performance

      After some initial Linux troubles, last month we finally got Intel Sandy Bridge graphics working under Linux. The latest Intel CPUs (such as the Core i5 2500K) with integrated graphics are blazingly fast, and the classic Intel Mesa driver was fast compared to other open-source Mesa / Gallium3D drivers, but it still was a ways behind the low-end discrete graphics cards with the proprietary AMD / NVIDIA drivers for Linux. It was also shown that the Intel Linux Mesa driver is much slower than the Intel Windows driver for Sandy Bridge, as we had also found was the case for previous generations of Intel graphics. Committed to the Mesa mainline Git repository this week though was a very important Sandy Bridge change. While the commit only touched 13 lines of code (11 lines of new code, 2 lines of changed code), it has dramatically improved the Sandy Bridge Linux performance as our results show in this article.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 270.30 Works With X.Org Server 1.10 Final

        Due to RandR 1.4 being pulled from X.Org Server 1.10, the video driver ABI had to be bumped to again, and this was at the last possible minute with X.Org Server 1.10 being released just days later. For the open-source X.Org drivers this just means recompiling the driver for the latest binary interface. For the binary blobs, this means NVIDIA and AMD must put out new releases.

      • Will Floating Point Textures Be Merged Into Mesa?

        Lucas Stach has brought a proposal to the Mesa mailing list of merging Mesa’s floating point textures and render targets code branch into the mainline Mesa repository. Floating point textures have been available in OpenGL for years, but has yet to enter mainline Mesa as it’s a patented feature.

  • Applications

    • The Sad State of Hashcash

      So today, I received an email from one of the readers of this blog. He wanted to get into OpenPGP with his email, and asked if I could help him get started with some tutorials, how-tos, etc. I was flattered that he valued my opinion. So, I responded to each of his questions and discussion points the best I could. However, during the reply, I reminded myself of Hashcash.

    • Some Conky Favorites of mine

      I have come to love Conky, even with its quirky, sometimes plain complicated configurations. I think a GUI application to handle these themes would be a blast, but for now, I simply enjoy having my system monitor beautifying my desktop.

    • Proprietary

    • Games

      • Life is in alpha–Killing the myth of the open source failure

        In writing my first article about open source games, it became apparent that I had plenty of ground to cover, and not just specific to games. It’s a known trend in open source: The majority of started projects never finish. If you think this is a problem that needs solving, I will argue that you are mistaken. This time around I want to address the topic of ‘making the journey worth your while.’

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME3 Live USB Image 0.0.6 – The return of the Cantarell

        I just pushed release 0.0.6, because the two previous releases (0.0.4 and 0.0.5) were no longer using Cantarell font by default and William spotted the error yesterday.

        Main change : Cantarell font is now used for applications and GNOME Shell (and I also added yelp and more translations for some packages).

      • criticism towards GNOME Shell

        Reading all the controversy around the decision by the GNOME Shell designers to remove the minimize and maximize buttons from GNOME shell reminds me quite a bit of the discussions around Plasma. Especially for stuff like the brilliant yet controversial Folderview widget.

      • Gnome Shell 3, Good Bad & Ugly

        Gnome Shell triggered another controversy when the designer team decided to remove the minimize and maximize buttons. Honestly speaking, both Ubuntu’s Unity and Gnome’s Shell 3 are introducing new User Interfaces, something KDE did with KDE 4.x series. KDE 4.x was a radical moved but users adopted and now they love it. I think Gnome Shell and Unity are good signs — at some point you need to break the status quo and let the innovation take the driving seat.

        openSuse community manager, Jos Poortvliet wrote in a blog, “Reading all the controversy around the decision by the GNOME Shell designers to remove the minimize and maximize buttons from GNOME shell reminds me quite a bit of the discussions around Plasma. Especially for stuff like the brilliant yet controversial Folderview widget.”

      • I’m biased, but still…

        Try minimizing this window if you’re using the GNOME 3.0 Shell.

      • GNOME 3 on Gentoo and related news

        Now that it’s been a few days since the release cycle entered UI freeze, we have been able to evaluate whether or not you folks (i.e., our users), will be able to transition from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 without too much pain. We came to the conclusion that there is no particular hurry to let go of GNOME 2.32, and that we should wait for things to settle down before unleashing GNOME 3 on our users.

      • Hurray! I’ve landed on Planet GNOME!

        I’m currently the maintainer and most active developer of GNOME Activity Journal (previously known as GNOME Zeitgeist), but i’m also involved with the whole Zeitgeist infrastructure. Randomly i hack in other projects like Unity, Emesene, Emesene2, Cloudsn, and others.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon Linux 5.5 XFCE, LXDE, E17, ServerBase, OpenVZ Released

      We are happy to announce the immediate availability of E17, XFCE, LXDE, SpinBase/OpenVZ, ServerBase Sabayon 5.5 “Spins” built on top of Sabayon “SpinBase” ISO images.
      The E17 ”stable-releases-are-for-n00bs” Desktop Environment, the well known XFCE and LXDE environments, theSpinBase+OpenVZ template ready to be used in server deployments, and last but not least, ServerBase, a very minimal Sabayon release with a server-optimized Linux kernel.

    • Reviews

      • Review: AUSTRUMI 2.2.9

        Unless you’re from Latvia, there’s a good chance that this is the first time you are seeing either the name AUSTRUMI or a review of it. So what is it?
        AUSTRUMI is a Latvian Slackware-based distribution that uses FVWM as the window manager.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat (RHT) Trading Near $42.51 Resistance Level
      • [CentOS-announce] CentOS 4 i386 and x86_64 release of CentOS-4.9

        The CentOS development team is pleased to announce the release of CentOS
        4.9 for i386 and x86_64.

        This release corresponds to the upstream vendor 4.9 release.

      • Fedora

        • First day with Fedora 14

          Yesterday I have switched from Ubuntu 10.10 to Fedora 14 I have chosen to try Fedora because it has an open governance model with a clear leadership. While there are a clear special capacities from the sponsor (RedHat), at the highest level the project is managed by an Executive Board, the board is composed with a mix of RH appointed and community elected members.

        • Bacon Is Still Talked About For Fedora 16

          It’s that time of the year again when the Fedora Project seeks out a codename from the community for their next Fedora release. Once again, Bacon is proposed as a codename.

          Other suggested codenames include Noguera, Bonnet, Sagan, Mt. Orne, Legation, Iao, Dreadlock, Barona, and Rasputin.

        • Out with Windows 2000, in with Fedora 14

          Overall I’ve noticed that Fedora 14 is very well done.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Debian 6.0 Branches Out Beyond the Project’s Linux Roots

        Debian 6.0, also known by the Toy Story-inspired name “Squeeze,” branches out from its Linux-centric roots with new, technology preview variants based on the FreeBSD kernel.

      • Adventures in Debian

        Debian comes with Iceweasel and GNASH. Well, Youtube and other video Websites don’t work real well if at all with that combo. GNASH does seem to work with Firefox, so just installing Firefox from tarball was all that was required there.

      • Debian or Ubuntu, which is the best place to contribute?

        As a user it’s relatively easy to choose between Debian and Ubuntu. Everybody has their own personal preference and it doesn’t take much time to try both. But when it comes to contributing, the time investment is bigger and you might want to think twice about it. Where is your time better spent?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Making your own Unity Place

          In 11.04 we include 2 places. The Files Place (keyboard shortcut Super-F) and the Applications Place (keyboard shortcut Super-A).

          If you imagine your desktop as one entity, the Applications place is a focused place looking just for your applications, and the files place we look for your recently used files, downloads, and favorites. And Places give the user a method of filtering those results as seen the top right of the screenshot.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 3 Review, Screenshots, Download Links

          It hasn’t been long since we last reviewed Ubuntu Natty Alpha 2 and now, Ubuntu Natty Alpha 3 is already here. This is yet another milestone in this major build up towards the much anticipated release of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal final on April 28, 2011. As is expected, latest Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Alpha 3 comes packed with a number of new features and major bug fixes. Quick review of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 3.

        • UDW: Day 4 over, last day to come

          It’s a shame, I know, but unfortunately it’s true: Ubuntu Developer Week is almost over. We rushed through 4 days in no time now and today is the last day.

        • Stepping Down As Ubuntu Maryland Leader

          On March 4, 2007 I started the Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team. Now on March 4, 2011 I’m announcing to the community at large that I’m stepping down as leader of the group I founded.

          This is a decision that has been coming for a while. Part of it is just the amount of time I’ve had with the role of leader. I believe I’ve taken the group as far as I can. I don’t feel that I’ve blocked any thoughts or ideas in my time, but I want to make the change as visible as possible and allow the group to take things in a different direction with new blood at the helm.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • My Thoughts on Bodhi Linux

            Bodhi Linux is a relatively new Linux distribution that is based on Ubuntu but uses the Enlightenment desktop environment/window manager. I’ve recently mentioned Bodhi here, but since then I’ve installed the second release candidate (0.1.6) of Bodhi Linux on my upstairs computer, and after using it for about five or six days I can definitively say that I love it!

          • Call for Help: Tips and Tricks in the Kubuntu Chapter

            I have been writing the Kubuntu chapter for The Official Ubuntu Book ever since it came out and now I can barely believe we are on the 6th Edition of the book. In the chapter there is a section of the chapter titled “Tips and Tricks” which need some serious updating.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Meego on pandaboard
        • DoodleDrive Alpha Preview Release

          The “game” we created with my son on Wednesday, DoodleDrive, got a lot of attention and many of you wanted to try it out yourselves. I have now created a new project to Forum Nokia Projects where you can download the binaries (sis for N8, E7, C7… or deb for N900).

      • Android

        • iDect iHome Android phone

          As well as smartphones and tablets Google’s Android operating system has started cropping up in media players, ski goggles, car stereos and even headphones, so it’s perhaps not too surprising that it’s now turned up in the humble landline home phone.

        • How to Find Your Lost or Stolen Android Phone for Free (Smartphone Tip)
        • Google’s Android Spurs More App Jobs Than iPhone

          Employers requested experience or skills with Android in 987 job postings on Dice as of Mar. 1, more than the 970 jobs asking for iPhone expertise, Bloomberg Businessweek.com reported today. The number of available positions mentioning either Android or iPhone surged more than threefold from a year ago, when the site listed 273 Android-related jobs and 312 iPhone-related jobs.

          Demand is swelling for Android programmers as Google woos makers of mobile applications to keep up with the growing popularity of its software. Android became the world’s best-selling smartphone platform last year, according to researcher Canalys, yet it trails in total number of apps, with more than 120,000 compared with the 350,000 programs in Apple’s App Store.

    • Tablets

      • Can Android beat iOS and dominate the tablet market?

        Apple currently remains on track to win 70% of the tablet market this year with its next-gen iPad 2. However, one analyst believes Android-based tablets will triumph over the iPad in the long-term.

        Indeed, according to RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky, Apple’s current dominance of the tablet market is likely to be a short-lived phenomenon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The New Ushahidi Community Website Is Live!

    Today we are very pleased to announce the beta release of the Ushahidi Community Website! This site has been in the works for several months and couldn’t have been possible without generous support from Small World News, Konpa Group and most importantly, the talented Rob Baker.

  • Events

  • OpenGL and Web Browsers

    • WebGL finalized, brings hardware-accelerated 3D to the browser

      Khronos Group today released the final specification for WebGL, a specification that brings OpenGL hardware-accelerated graphics to the web browser.

      The organization has been working with Apple, Google, Mozilla and Opera to implement the specification in popular browsers, with the technology now available in developer builds.

    • Khronos Puts Out The Final WebGL 1.0 Specification

      From the Game Developers’ Conference happening this week in San Francisco, the Khronos Group has announced the release of the official WebGL 1.0 specification. This is the OpenGL ES derived specification designed for providing hardware graphics acceleration within HTML5 modern web-browsers.

    • Thunderbird 3.1.9 Update Now Available for Download

      An update for Thunderbird 3.1.9 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux for free download from www.GetThunderbird.com. This release prevents a crash after update that is affecting some users.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 3.6.15 compatibility update now available
      • First developer release of Web Apps Project

        We are excited to announce the availability of the first milestone release of Mozilla’s Web Application project. Web Apps are applications that run on any device, and can be distributed through any store or directly by the developer. This release contains stable APIs, developer utilities and documentation to help you get a jumpstart on building Web Apps and stores.

      • Firefox 3.6.15 compatibility update now available

        Firefox 3.6.15 is now available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux from http://firefox.com. As always, we recommend that users keep up to date with the latest stability and support versions of Firefox, and encourage all our users to upgrade to the very latest version, Firefox 3.6.15.

        We strongly recommend that all Firefox users upgrade to these latest releases. If you already have Firefox, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This updates can also be applied manually by selecting “Check for Updates…” from the Help menu.

  • SaaS

    • StatusNet Launching New SaaS – Stops Accepting New Members for Year Old Service

      StatusNet announced this morning that it will unveil a new service and is deferring accepting new members on StatusNet Cloud Service, the offering it launched last year.

      StatusNet Cloud Service launched last March with personal, community and private plans that were offered as a SaaS. Initial customers included Motorola Corporation and Canonical Ltd.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education


    • Ask Richard Stallman anything!

      Well, within reason. In a few days we’re going to meet up with the great man, the founder of the GNU project and free software movement as we know it. Never one to mince his words, RMS has strong views on software freedom and has campaigned rigourously to stop us being locked into a world of proprietary code and DRM.

    • ‘No sysadmin’ is the key to Freedom Box
  • Government

    • Councillor an Independent

      COFFS Harbour City Councillor Paul Templeton is the latest candidate to throw his hat in the ring for election to the State seat of Coffs Harbour on March 26.

      Cr Templeton, who attended Saturday’s Pacific Highway Forum, says he is concerned about ‘standard’ issues like roads, health and Part 3A planning approvals, but at the end of the day he wants to listen to what the community really wants and take that to the State Parliament.

      “The expectations of the community are changing rapidly and legislation is not keeping up,” he said.

      Cr Templeton is the information technology and information management officer with the Mid North Coast Division of General Practice.

      The 41-year-old IT systems administrator has lived on the Mid North Coast since he was 16, the past 14 years in Coffs Harbour. His extended family lives in the Nambucca Valley.

      Married with a six-year-old son, Paul Templeton’s interests include the free and open source software movement.

    • GR: First migration of a Greek Public Organization to Free Software

      The Musical Studies Department (MSD) of the Ionian University in Corfu has recently taken the initiative to become the first ever Public Organization and educational Institution in Greece that officially embraces Free and Open Source Software in its infrastructure.

    • Lion’s share of IT contract spend is taken by four government departments

      Of nearly £16bn spent on IT projects currently underway, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spends the most, with £4bn locked into IT contracts, followed by the Home Office (£3.9bn), the Department of Health (£3.5bn) and the Cabinet Office (£1.5bn).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • I can’t bake croissants: a fable on project documentation
    • Million Song Dataset Million Song Dataset

      The Million Song Dataset is a freely-available collection of audio features and metadata for a million contemporary popular music tracks.

    • Open Data/Transparency

      • Universities need to lift the lid on donations

        Sir Howard Davies resigned as director of the London School of Economics council last night due to controversial links between the LSE and Libyan money. An inquiry headed by Lord Woolf will now investigate the links between LSE and Gaddafi, including a £1.5 million donation from Saif Gaddafi – who was awarded a now-contested PhD by the university in 2008.

      • The Curious Case of Media Opposing Government Transparency

        My gosh there is a lot going on. Republicans – REPUBLICANS(!) who were in charge of America’s prison system are warning Canada not to follow the Conservatives plan on prisons, the Prime Minister has renamed the government, after himself and my friends at Samara had in Toronto the Guardian’s Emily Bell to talk wikileaks and data journalism (wish I could have been there).

        It’s all very interesting… and there is a media story here in British Columbia that’s been brewing where a number of journalists have become upset about a government that has become “too” transparent.

        It’s an important case as it highlights some of the tensions that will be emerging in different places as governments rethink how they share information.

        The case involves BC Ferries, a crown corporation that runs ferries along critical routes around the province. For many years the company was not subject to the province’s Freedom of Information legislation. However, a few months ago the government stated the crown corporation would need to comply with the act. This has not pleased the corporation’s president.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Launches Patent Advisory Group for XML Signature and XML Encryption
    • W3C Invites Implementer Feedback on XML Security 1.1 Specifications

      The XML Security Working Group published four Candidate Recommendations today: XML Signature Syntax and Processing 1.1, XML Encryption Syntax and Processing 1.1, XML Security Generic Hybrid Ciphers, and XML Signature Properties. XML Signatures provide integrity, message authentication, and/or signer authentication services for data of any type, whether located within the XML that includes the signature or elsewhere. As companion documents, the Working Group has released new Working Drafts of XML Security 1.1 Requirements and Design Considerations and XML Security RELAX NG Schemas.


  • Quebec headed toward ‘radical option’ on religious minorities, sociologist fears

    One of the great thinkers who helped calm Quebec’s reasonable accommodation debate is stirring it up again, saying he fears the province may be headed toward a “radical option” to deal with religious minorities.

    Gérard Bouchard, the sociologist who travelled the province with philosopher Charles Taylor to study Quebec’s integration of minorities, said the province still lacks coherent rules to govern accommodation.

  • Putting China on the Innovation Map

    That’s because it’s a mapping site – here’s Beijing – and hence highly visual, but rather different to Google Maps because it uses an axonometric projection, which makes it look a little bit like SimCity. Paradoxically, this makes it easier to grasp the lay of the land. Moreover, many individual buildings are named (in Chinese, of course), provided a handy level of detail, and you can also pull out categories like food or entertainment.

  • How Recent Changes to Twitter’s Terms of Service Might Hurt Academic Research

    There is a lot to be learned from our tweets. Laugh if you will. Go ahead. But Twitter has become an important historical and cultural record. It’s a site for real-time news and information, to be sure. The stuff of history with a capital H. Politics. Natural disasters. Revolution. It’s a site that marks our cultural as well (is that history with a lower case H?). Ashton Kutcher. Charlie Sheen. The Oscars. Lower case or capital H – these 140 character exchanges have created an invaluable record for researchers looking at history, politics, literature, sociology.

  • Twitter Puts the Smack Down on Another Popular App: Whither Twitter as a Platform?
  • Courtney Love to Pay $430,000 to Settle Twitter Defamation Case (Exclusive)

    The settlement ends a case that was watched as closely for the unique legal issues in play as the often-erratic behavior of the defendant. Simorangkir, who became embroiled in a dispute with Love over a $4000 payment for clothing, accused the Hole frontwoman of ruining her business with a series of allegedly defamatory tweets posted during a 20 minute rant in 2009. The trial, which was originally scheduled for late January but was postponed when the parties began talking settlement, would have been the first high-profile courtroom showdown over what constitutes defamation on Twitter.

  • India manager ‘killed by workers’

    A senior manager at an Indian steel factory has been burnt to death in the eastern state of Orissa by a group of his workers, police say.

    RS Roy of Graphite India Ltd died on the way to a hospital in Bolangir district on Thursday evening.

    Police say

  • 5 Key Issues Impacting the Future of Facebook
  • Chipping In to Pay the Man Who Helped Introduce the Internet to So Many of Us

    f you used the Internet using Windows in the early to mid 1990s, chances are you connected with a little program called Trumpet Winsock. It was one of the only ways to get dial-up access using Windows 3.1. I, like so many others, connected to the Internet for the very first time using it. And I, like so many other, had completely forgotten about that program until today.

  • Hyperlocal Heartbreak: Why Haven’t Neighborhood News Technologies Worked Out?

    Neighborhood news aggregator Outside.in has been acquired by AOL, according to multiple reports this morning. Apparently it’s being bought for less than the big pile of money that high-profile investors put into it, back when hopes were high. It’s sad, really: the ambitious hyper-local news technology services of the last few years don’t seem to be working out very well.

  • Science

    • Audio slideshow: Beautiful science
    • The rise of the picosecond

      A second is a long time in cash equities trading. Four or five years ago, trading firms started to talk of trading speeds in terms of milliseconds.

      A millisecond is one thousandth of a second or, put another way, 200 times faster than the average speed of thought. In the time it took your brain to tell your hand to click on this article, a broker or market-making firm trading in milliseconds could fill hundreds of orders on an exchange.

    • What scientists really think about animal research

      Animal research has always been a polarizing topic; while it greatly advances science and medicine, it also causes the deaths of thousands of animals each year. PETA, the Animal Liberation Front, and other animal rights groups are outspoken about their side of the issue, but we hear less from the scientists who are actually conducting the research. An informal poll by Nature last week describes scientists’ feelings about animal research and their reactions to animal rights activism.

      Nature polled almost 1,000 biomedical scientists around the world, over 70 percent of whom conduct experiments on animals. Not surprisingly, a vast majority of the respondents—over 90 percent—felt that animal research is essential to scientific advancement. However, about a third also reported that they had “ethical concerns about the role of animals in their current work.” In particular, researchers are concerned about minimizing pain in their subjects, using the smallest number of animals possible, and “respecting” their subjects. Fifty-four researchers said that they had actually changed the direction of their research as a result of misgivings about their research practices.

    • Cancer rise and sperm quality fall ‘due to chemicals’

      Sperm quality significantly deteriorated and testicular cancers increased over recent years, a Finnish study says.

      The study in the International Journal of Andrology looked at men born between 1979 and 1987.

    • Is This Uncanny Valley-Scaling Robot Proof Of Our Impending Demise?
    • In an Alberta town, parents fight for a secular education

      It wasn’t until her seven-year-old son asked her if he’d burn in hell that Marjorie Kirsop became concerned.

      A Catholic education is the only local option for the Kirsop family and everyone else in Morinville, Alta., a community of 8,100 northwest of Edmonton. It’s a unique situation, rooted in the town’s origins as an outpost of French-Canadian Catholicism in the late 1800s. But this fall, when five-year-old Sarah Kirsop declared she had converted to Catholicism, her mother joined a group of local families who are challenging the status quo.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The privatisation of blood donations

      The proposed privatisation of NHS Blood and Transplant service, or parts of it, will instinctively make people shudder and we are right to be concerned about how commercial motives will change the service.

      At Anthony Nolan, we know a lot about blood. We have provided stem cells for transplant to people with blood cancers and similar conditions since 1974. We set up the world’s first bone marrow donor register and have always worked closely with the NHS. In fact our fundraising enables us to support the cost to the NHS of acquiring cells for these life saving transplants.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • NSA Winds Down Secure Virtualization Platform Development

      The National Security Agency’s High Assurance Platform integrates security and virtualization technology into a framework that’s been commercialized and adopted elsewhere in government.

    • Vendor-sec host compromised, shut down

      As moderator of vendor-sec and one of the sysadmins of lst.de I noticed a break-in into the lst.de machine last week, which was likely used to sniff email traffic of vendor-sec. This incident probably happened on Jan 20 as confirmed by timestamp, but might have existed for longer.

    • Crackers destroy security mailing list for Linux distributors

      The infrastructure of the members-only security mailing list “Vendor-Sec” for open source vendors has been severely damaged according to a post published by Markus Meissner at the OSS Security mailing list. At Vendor-Sec, Linux and BSD distributors discussed undisclosed vulnerabilities in the kernel and open source software. Some of the information was embargoed to give vendors time to close their holes.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya: Gaddafi son says bombs were ‘misunderstanding’

      • Father-of-seven from Manchester reportedly shot dead
      • Gaddafi to be investigated by ICC over crimes against humanity
      • Gaddafi forces strike oil export hubs in Brega for second day
      • Dmitry Medvedev warns of “civil war”

    • 20 Years After Rodney King, Who’s Holding Cops Accountable?

      Twenty years ago today Rodney King was dragged out of his Hyundai sedan just after midnight and beaten by Los Angeles police after an eight-mile chase through San Fernando Valley that ended in Lake View Terrace. Officers surrounded the 25-year-old taxi driver and construction worker and kicked, tased and beat him with their batons held like baseball bats. The attack was illuminated by the a spotlight provided by a LAPD helicopter hovering overhead, and the headlights of police cars that surrounded King’s car.

    • More carry-on luggage costing TSA millions a year

      Choosing to carry your luggage onto a plane instead of checking it with an airline might save you a few bucks at the ticket counter but it’s costing taxpayers about a quarter-billion dollars a year.

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress this week that luggage fees have prompted more passengers to hold onto their bags, which means more items for Transportation Security Administration officers to inspect at security checkpoints at a cost of about $260 million annually.

    • Windsor man pleads guilty to torching cruiser at G20

      A Windsor man facing two years in prison for setting a heavily damaged police cruiser on fire during the G20 summit in Toronto last summer says he has been made a scapegoat in the aftermath of the riot.

    • Hillary Clinton: “We’re Losing the War”

      None other than the US Secretary of State herself, Hillary Clinton, paid fulsome tribute to Al Jazeera last Wednesday, March 2. Appearing before a US Foreign Policy Priorities committee, she was asked by Senator Richard Lugar to impart her views on how well the US was promoting its message across the world.

      Clinton promptly volunteered that America is in an “information war and we are losing the war,” and furthermore, that “Al Jazeera is winning”.

    • Justice Cranks Up Its Covert War on Whistleblowers

      According to federal prosecutors, Stirling was the source behind reports published by New York Times reporter James Risen (identified as “Author A” in its pleadings) that exposed a horribly botched, indeed hare-brained plot by the CIA designed to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program. In particular, one chapter in Risen’s book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, describes a CIA-authored scheme to use a Russian double agent to deliver to the Iranians a set of technical drawings that had been carefully doctored so as to be worthless. However, the double agent turned on the CIA in the end, disclosing the flaws that had been built into the design. The end result: the CIA operation had actually advanced Iran’s nuclear project. So what was the purpose of the strenuous U.S. government effort to punish Stirling for making it public? Justice contends that the disclosure harmed national security. But the decision to go after Sterling seems to have more to do with his violation of the intelligence community’s code of omertà, under which no agent ever speaks about another’s mistakes.

  • Cablegate

    • [Old] Julian Assange condemns Australian Labor government at public meeting

      WikiLeaks’ founder and editor Julian Assange strongly condemned the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a pre-recorded address broadcast to a large public meeting convened in Melbourne last Friday.

      The event took place with just four days notice, yet a capacity audience of more than 600 people attended, with hundreds more turned away to watch a live video feed of the event, broadcast on a large screen outside the city’s Federation Square venue. The turnout demonstrated the enormous support for WikiLeaks among ordinary people in Australia, and their opposition to the persecution of Assange on bogus rape allegations by Swedish authorities.

    • Bradley Manning and the stench of US hypocrisy

      He now also finds himself faced with a rare charge known as “aiding the enemy” – a capital offence for which he could face the death penalty.

      The revelation will no doubt have come as a blow to Manning, although given his ongoing treatment it is likely he already feared the worst. Made to endure strict conditions under a prevention of injury order against the advice of military psychiatrists, he is treated like no other prisoner at the 250-capacity Quantico Brig detention facility in Virginia. Despite that he is yet to be convicted of any crime, for the past 218 consecutive days he has been made to live in a cell 6ft wide and 12ft long, without contact with any other detainees. He is not allowed to exercise or have personal effects in his cell, and for the one hour each day he is allowed free from his windowless cell he is taken to an empty room where he is allowed to walk, but not run.

    • WikiLeaks suspect: Where Army sees traitor, some see whistleblower

      But Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg sees cause for alarm in Army’s prosecution.

    • In restricted speech, former MI6 chief credits WikiLeaks with ‘tidal wave’ of revolutions

      Former British intelligence chief Sir Richard Dearlove gave a speech not long ago where all recordings were prohibited. During that talk, he credited secrets outlet WikiLeaks with helping spark revolutions across the Middle East, saying they provide a stark example of the ways technology is changing how people relate to their governments.

      Unfortunately for Dearlove, someone in the audience was recording, and now the whole world gets to see his formerly restricted speech.

    • Ex-UK spy boss says WikiLeaks sparked Egyptian revolution

      The former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service has credited WikiLeaks and other secret-spilling sites with sparking the revolutions sweeping the Middle East.

      At what was supposed to be an off-the-record appearance last month at the Cambridge Union Society, Former MI6 Chief Richard Dearlove said that the technology WikiLeaks harnesses is fundamentally strengthening the hand of the individual as he goes up against powerful organizations.

    • Wikileaks reveals illegal Peru mahogany exports in US stores

      Peru’s government has secretly admitted that 70-90% of its mahogany exports were illegally felled, according to a US embassy cable revealed by Wikileaks.

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Thursday, Day 96

      9:15 “Anonymous Will Avenge Manning.” That’s headline on DailyKos piece by Anonymous-connected Barrett Brown. He also talked to NY Daily News: “Not 24 hours after the U.S. Army announced it had filed 22 counts against reputed WikiLeaks source Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, Anonymous issued a new threat Thursday. ‘The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a capital offense in addition to other charges is a provocation, and Anonymous is set to respond accordingly,’ spokesman Barrett Brown wrote on DailyKos. He said the group will keep going after corporate execs involved in plots against Wikileaks.” And, he told The Daily News: “We are looking at information on various military officials.”

      9:10 Mariah Carey admits cable was true–she did get $1 million from Gaddafi son in 2006 to sing four songs for him. Beyonce and Nelly Furtado, also caught, have announced they will donate money to charity where Mariah promises proceeds from one song. No word yet from 50 Cent and Usher.

    • Shooters walk free, whistleblower jailed

      Due to the enormous request Panorama has produced an English version of our film about the alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning.

    • Bradley Manning may face death penalty
    • Soldier in Leaks Case Was Jailed Naked, Lawyer Says
    • Bradley Manning ‘forced to sleep naked’

      The US army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks was forced to sleep naked in his cell at a Marine Corps prison near Washington, which his lawyer has said is inexcusable.

    • America’s Dreyfus Case

      Although the U.S. doesn’t have a Devil’s Island, and American soldiers can’t be sent to Gitmo, the military has found a way to make life hell for Pfc. Bradley Manning. Not only has he been held ten months without trial, most of the time in solitary, now he is being stripped naked every night before he goes to bed, his lawyer says.

      Lawyer David Coombs said the decision was made by the commander of the Quantico, Virginia, brig, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Denise Barnes. A Marine spokesman, Brian Villard said it is not punishment.


      The Dreyfus Affair became a national scandal in France, attracting the attention of some of the country’s greatest writers. “J’Accuse,” by Emile Zola was the most famous attack on the phony charges.

    • Meeting on 2nd March in Parliament House Canberra with MPs re Julian Assange.

      Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

    • Editorial – Media Currently Publishing
    • WikiLeaks spokesman wins Journalist of the Year in Iceland

      Icelandic journalist and WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson won the country’s Journalist of the Year award for 2010, Iceland’s National Union of Journalists said.

      “Kristinn said when receiving the award that this was the third time he was getting an award for outstanding work in journalism, but that he had also been fired three times for his work,” NUJ official Frida Bjornsdottir said.

    • WikiLeaks calls more charges against soldier a “vindictive attack”

      Private First Class Bradley Manning, who has been held in solitary confinement at a military jail in Virginia, is now facing 22 more charges related to leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, the BBC reported. The news comes just after the announcement that WikiLeaks has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

      In the charges, the Army accused Manning of “wrongfully and wantonly” allowing secret intelligence information to be published online, thus aiding “the enemy,” explained the Los Angeles Times.

    • Special report: Weapons and the art of diplomacy

      When Lockheed Martin wanted to sell C-130 military transport planes to the government of Chad in early 2007, the U.S. embassy in N’Djamena was ready to lend a hand.

    • Swaziland ‘imports firearms through Mozambique’

      Swaziland is importing two containers of firearms through a Mozambican port, two years after Britain blocked an arms shipment to the southern African kingdom, Mozambican state media said Friday.

      The arms arrived in Maputo, the Mozambican capital, on a Panamanian vessel on February 28 from an unspecified country, state daily Noticias reported.


      In December 2008, Britain blocked a Swazi move to buy arms worth $60 million (43 million euros) from a British company over “end-use concerns,” according to a US embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks.

    • Harvard Law Reviews WikiLeaks Censorship

      Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler is about to release a comprehensive study on the U.S. government and media’s role in censoring WikiLeaks. The forthcoming report , to appear in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, is titled “A Free Irresponsible Press: WikiLeaks and the Battle over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate.” In the report, Benkler dissects the mechanisms that have censored WikiLeaks.

      A working draft of the report has been made available online. The draft exposes how the U.S. government, mainstream media, and the emerging corporatocracy have been working together to infringe on the First Amendment Rights of the “networked fourth estate” sites, like WikiLeaks. Essentially, the government has been tripping over its feet to find ways to stop Wikileaks from expressing speech which Benkler argues is clearly protected by the U.S. Constitution and solidly supported by Supreme Court precedent.


      With false statements coming from the State Department, key Senators, and the White House, major credit cards, Pay Pal, and host of other sites like Amazon cut off ties with WikiLeaks. Benkler points out that legally, the U.S. government did not have the right to shut down WikiLeaks. However, by a series of “extra-legal” means, the government was able to temporarily shut down the site and its revenue stream.

    • Colombian armed forces collaborated with neo-paramilitaries: WikiLeaks

      Neo-paramilitary groups with former armed forces personnel as members were able to infiltrate the state by exploiting their military connections, according to a WikiLeaks cable.

    • The serial deceit of Geoff Morrell

      On January 26, 2011, Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell stood before the Pentagon press corps and made a series of patently false statements about Bradley Manning (the video is here). Even taking into account the position Morrell occupies — in which a penchant for telling the truth is not exactly a job requirement (it actually would be disqualifying) — this Press Conference was an extraordinary display of pure official mendacity.

      Morrell was asked several times about the evidence — first reported here — that Manning was being held in repressive and inhumane conditions: specifically, 23-hour/day solitary confinement, a prohibition on exercising in his cell, and being allowed out only 1 hour per day to “exercise” which entails walking around alone in a room, shackled.

    • Is Bradley Manning being treated like a Guantanamo detainee?

      This is “an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated…No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation.” But, no other detainee is at the center of a case that US military and government officials seem to have decided to use as an example case that could put in fear in any other military or government official who might seek to disseminate information to any organization like WikiLeaks in the future.

    • Waiting patiently in the shadows

      Dylan Welch meets the Icelandic journalist who quit his job to work at WikiLeaks.

      Outside the Frontline Club in London, winter has draped itself across the city; inside, in the club’s small first-floor member’s room, WikiLeaks’s second-most famous employee fixes the Herald with a far frostier gaze.

    • What Americans really think of Kibaki and Raila

      The US embassy assessed President Kibaki to be in good health and firmly in control while Prime Minister Raila Odinga is depicted as a politician who would put his presidential ambitions ahead of reforms.

    • What’s An F-16 Worth? About 80,000 Tons of Chicken

      In connection with a special report, Reuters has scrubbed WikiLeaks, looking for State Department cables related to diplomatic efforts to help facilitate sales of American weapons systems abroad. The Atlantic Wire highlights a couple of the deals today, including one attention-grabber involving a 2005 effort by the government of Thailand to purchase fighter jets.
      The Thais considered Russia’s Sukhoi model, Sweden’s Saab and Lockheed Martin’s F-16. But there was a catch: They didn’t want to pay cash, but were willing to give up 80,000 tons of frozen chicken.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shark fishing in Japan – video

      Sharks are fished on an industrial scale at the port of Kesennuma, 250 miles north of Tokyo, which accounts for 90% of Japan’s shark-fin trade

    • Best Rare-Bird Pictures of 2010 Named

      A picture of an endangered Asian crested ibis soaring over China is a first-prize winner in the first annual World’s Rarest Birds international photo competition, organizers announced in January.

      Launched in 2010, the competition ranked pictures of birds that fall into three categories determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature: endangered or data deficient, critically endangered or extinct in the wild, and critically endangered migratory species.

    • The Eastern Panther is Extinct

      The Eastern Panther is ExtinctThe U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has has determined that the legendary Eastern Panther (also known as the eastern cougar, puma, catamount and mountain lion) is extinct, and likely has been since the 1930s. There have been numerous reported sightings throughout the years, but the FWS says they were other species, “including South American cats that had either escaped from captivity or were released to the wilderness as well as wild cougars from Western states that had migrated east.”

  • Finance and Corruption

    • Damage estimate at Wisconsin Capitol goes from $7.5 million to … uh … $0?

      Amazing. In just one day, the estimate went from $7.5 million to $0. Now that’s a budget repair bill.

    • We need Scott Walker here

      Facing a $3.6-billion deficit, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently declared his state “broke.” To overcome this fiscal challenge, Mr. Walker proposed cutting generous public sector pension and health care benefits, and threatened immediate layoffs if concessions were not made. He also introduced legislation to restrict collective bargaining in the public sector and limit future wage increases to the rate of inflation.

    • “Koch Whore”: The Scott Walker Story

      Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker speaking to a liberal blogger whom he believes to be David Koch. I have picked some of the choice quotes from the tapes which can be heard by clicking the links below.

      REAL WALKER: ”He’s not one of us” – in reference to Democratic Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen.

      FAKE KOCH: “We gotta crush those unions.”

      REAL WALKER: “We stay firm, we’ll wait it out. If they want to sacrifice thousands of workers to be laid-off, we’re not going to compromise.”

      FAKE KOCH: “Bring a baseball bat” – in reference to meeting with Wisconsin Democrats.

      REAL WALKER: “I have one in my office, you’d be happy with that. I’ve got a slugger with my name on it.”

    • The real scandal at the LSE

      There is a revealing remark in the minutes of the debate that took place in October 2009 at the governing council of the London School of Economics over whether to accept a donation of £1.5 million from Saif Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator. Fred Halliday, the school’s professor of international relations, had warned the council that accepting the money would taint the LSE’s reputation, but his concerns were dismissed by a fellow academic, David Held, professor of political science. Refusal, Held protested, would cause “personal embarrassment” to Saif Gaddafi.

      Concern for Gaddafi Jnr’s feelings, rather than Halliday’s hard-headed analysis, evidently won the day. The governing council accepted the loot (of which £300,000 was subsequently paid) from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The fact that among those members giving their assent to supping with the devil was Sharmi Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty and merciless scourge of those who compromise principles of justice, only adds to the air of unreality that surrounds the whole shameful episode. She has since spoken of her “bucketfuls” of regret.

    • Building Ford Nation

      Earlier this week, the mayor threatened to unleash “Ford Nation” on Premier Dalton McGuinty should the province refuse the city’s request for more money.

      It may have come off as a spur-of-the-moment turn of phrase, but Ford Nation is very real and about to change the political landscape of Ontario.

      For months, members of Ford’s former campaign staff have been quietly drawing up plans to form a right-wing advocacy group. The intention is to monetize and organize this huge ideological voting base, essentially forming a quasi Tea Party North.

    • Nelly Furtado and the public shame of private concerts

      Nelly Furtado played for Muammar. Well, maybe not Muammar. She played for the clan. In Italy. Perhaps she played and the Gaddafi family sang along and they threw each other in the air and then the concert ended and Nelly cashed her cheque. Maybe she bought some gold-plated bathroom fixtures and maybe a racehorse named Like A Bird and she probably even donated some of the money to the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club, which is just around the corner from me in Toronto, and where Nelly learned how to swim when she was a pre-teen. But then, Tunisia fell. And then Egypt fell

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Themis: Questions about Palantir surface in HBGary Federal’s aftermath

      Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal, along with lobbyist law firm Hunton & Williams, are all linked to separate plots that involve the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America. The links were exposed via emails published to the Internet by Anonymous.

      Based on the publically available information, the idea was for the four organizations to help the Chamber develop a plan that would discredit critics. Moreover, Team Themis, a name selected by the three firms who collaborated with Hunton & Williams, are also linked to plans made for Bank of America in order for them to deal with the “WikiLeaks Threat”.

    • Hacked e-mails show Web is an increasingly useful tool in dirty-tricks campaigns

      Although much of K Street spends its time plying the halls of Congress on behalf of well-heeled clients, there is a growing dark side to Washington’s lobbying and public-relations industry: figuring out new ways to undermine and sabotage opponents.

      This little-discussed aspect of the influence business came into view in recent weeks with the release of thousands of hacked corporate e-mails, which detail a pair of high-tech dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at supporters of WikiLeaks and foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    • Daily Star reporter quits in protest at tabloid’s ‘anti-Muslim’ coverage

      The Daily Star has been accused of printing fictional stories by a disgruntled reporter who has resigned over its “hatemongering” anti-Muslim propaganda.

      In a resignation letter, Richard Peppiatt said he was leaving after the Star gave sympathetic coverage to the far-right English Defence League last month.

  • Censorship

    • Internet traffic in Libya goes dark amid upheaval

      Internet services in Libya, already spotty throughout the country’s violent upheaval, appeared completely halted in an attempt to stifle information about the insurrection.

      The move, coming ahead of planned protests in Libya, appears similar to Egypt’s response to the demonstrations that led President Hosni Mubarak to step down last month. The Libyan government controls the country’s primary Internet service provider.

      Arbor Networks, a Chelmsford, Mass., network security company said Friday that all Internet traffic coming in and out of Libya had ceased, starting at about noon EST Thursday (7 p.m. in Tripoli, Libya). Google’s transparency report, which shows traffic to the company’s sites from various countries, also showed that Internet traffic had fallen to zero in Libya.

    • Libyan Disconnect
    • Google’s Blogger banned in Turkey over soccer broadcast piracy

      A Turkey court has issued a statewide ban on Google service Blogger, locking 600,000 Turkish bloggers out of their personal diaries.

      The ban was imposed in response to a complaint from satellite TV company Digiturk. The company claimed that soccer matches it was broadcasting had been posted on Blogger.

    • Apple: you must be at least 17 years old to use Opera

      This week, the Opera web browser became the first non-native browser made available in Apple’s Mac App Store. While Apple approved the browser, it still managed to hurt its competitor by putting this ridiculous label on it: “You must be at least 17 years old to download this app.”

    • [Old] Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S. [UPDATED]

      Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook PhoneNumbers & Security

      Since I’m finishing my novel and committed to uploading it to CreateSpace Sunday night, I’m *not* supposed to be blogging!

      But this is a pretty serious FaceBook privacy breach passed on my by friend Mary, and the sooner people know the sooner they can pull their numbers.

  • Civil Rights

    • 47 U.S.C. § 230: a 15 Year Retrospective

      Co-sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this symposium will unite some of the key figures in the history of 47 U.S.C. § 230, widely regarded as the most important internet specific law.

    • Constitutional Amendments Exclude Women Candidates for the Presidential Elections

      “The Egyptian Coalition for Civic Education and Women’s Participation” has received and reviewed the constitutional amendments. These amendments have led to great worries amongst the coalition for they did not achieve what the Egyptian people aimed for, nor meet the revolution’s demands. As such the amendments are restoring the system of the past regime.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • LQDN Responds to the Parliamentary Pre-report on Net Neutrality

      La Quadrature du Net sent its response (in French) to the pre-report prepared by the French Parliament’s working group on Net neutrality.

      Mindful of the importance of Net neutrality for the future of our networked societies, the French Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee has set up a working group led by Laure de La Raudière (UMP) and Corinne Erhel (SRC). After hearing many stakeholders, including La Quadrature du Net and not-for-profit ISP FDN, the working group submitted a pre-report (in French) at the beginning of February.

  • DRM

    • Are iPad magazines being killed by greed?

      Pete Kafka at All Things Digital reports today that publisher Conde Nast is set to increase the price of the iPad versions of its Vanity Fair and GQ titles by $1 and $2 respectively. The reason is increased production costs after they switched from an in-house publishing system to an Adobe-built solution, but the result? Well, digital magazines haven’t exactly taken off so far. Who’s going to want them at an even higher price?

    • World Book Night: A book so good they want to give it to you for free

      As reading on electronic devices becomes more common, and panic over the perceived Kindle Catastrophe dies down, people who oversee physical books are thinking more creatively about what they can offer by contrast. So books become more precious as objects (design becomes more important, clever new formats are invented) and booksellers are – or should be – turned to as curators of our cultural lives.

    • Judge Lets Sony Unmask Visitors to PS3-Jailbreaking Site

      A federal magistrate is granting Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz’s website from January of 2009 to the present.

      Thursday’s decision by Magistrate Joseph Spero to allow Sony to subpoena Hotz’s web provider (.pdf) raises a host of web-privacy concerns.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Revolution Will Not Be Properly Licensed

      We have SonyBMG taking administrator-level control of several million customers’ computers to prevent copying of mere music. European authorities mandating wiretapping capabilities of all telecom equipment. Car manufacturers installing remote kill switches in cars. Microsoft embedding the same type of kill switches in their software, along with Apple and Google doing the same to our phones. Intel embedding the same kill switches in processors. Amazon deleting books off our bookshelves.

    • British biz roasts Hargreaves’ ‘Google Review’

      Against this, the CBI’s submission, “Exploiting Ideas”, is a reality-check. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) describes intellectual property as Britain’s “Crown jewels”, and notes that investment in “intangibles” now exceeds investment in physical assets by about 50 per cent. Aerospace and pharmaceuticals turn over £37bn between them, copyright accounts for 8.2 per cent of GDP (or £100bn) and trademarks – typically forgotten – £18bn.

    • Copyrights

      • Moby Says The Major Record Labels ‘Should Die’

        Moby is no stranger to speaking out against the major record labels. After the original Jammie Thomas ruling, he spoke out saying that the RIAA should be disbanded. More recently, he’s highlighted how giving away free music has been helpful in making money and pointed out that the major record label’s entire strategy seems based on trying to “make the future die.” So it’s hardly surprising to hear him say that he thinks the major labels should die.

      • Copyright gone mad!

        Earlier this week, BoingBoing covered the story of Zazzle – an online merchandise company – taking down a badge which read “While you were reading Tolkien I was watching Evangelion”. The original story alleged that this was prompted by the Tolkien Estate claiming copyright infringement, though subsequently it has emerged that it was actually Zazzle acting on their own initiative who caused the withdrawal of the product.

        While innocent in this particular case, the Tolkien Estate is notorious for a broad interpretation of copyright law. They have recently issued a cease and desist notice to the author of a novel which includes Tolkien as a character, and I have seen reports of similar actions on their part on at least two other occasions. Even more amusingly, back in 2004 the Estate and Warner Brothers claimed ownership of the word “shire”. (The Oxford English Dictionary, unsurprisingly, disagrees.)

      • Pirate Party Calls Protest As Movie Sharer Jailed For 30 Days

        Following an investigation into the online sharing of a new movie, Serbia’s High-Tech crime unit has swooped on an apartment in the capital Belgrade where they arrested a 51-year-old man. Following interrogation and an apparent confession, in just one day a judge has ruled the man can be detained in jail for 30 days. The Pirate Party are now calling for protests today.

      • Copyright reform is needed in UK: letter to the Telegraph

        We co-signed this letter, published today in the Telegraph, calling for copyright reform in the interests of economic growth.

      • Yahoo, BT and more launch UK ‘Cloud Radio’ project. What’s that?

        Here’s an intriguing story – a consortium of technology and media companies including Yahoo, BT, music streaming service We7 and content production company Somethin” Else, have been awarded an £1.8m grant to work on a ‘cloud radio’ service codenamed ‘Apollo’.

        What’s that? As Digital Spy reports, the project will look into the development of “next-generation personal radio and music services that can work across any internet-connected device, such as mobiles, tablets and web TVs”.

      • ICE Arrests Operator Of Seized Domain; Charges Him With Criminal Copyright Infringement

        While Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group has been seizing lots of domains under questionable legal theories, it has been slow to follow through on any sort of actual lawsuits. However, with one of the domains seized a month ago, channelsurfing.net, ICE has now arrested someone and charged him with criminal copyright infringement, such that he’s now facing five years in jail (as well as fines). This is interesting, because when that domain was seized, we had noted that channelsurfing did not appear to host any content itself, but merely embedded content from other sites. That raises an awful lot of serious questions: specifically, what part of copyright law is infringed here. The site does not host any of the content. It does not make any copies. It does not distribute the content. All it does is put in a snippet of code that a user’s web browser then uses to request content from another site.

      • IFPI, UK Police, Credit Card Companies Push People To Pirate Music, Rather Than Pay For It

        Bizarre move out of the IFPI. It’s gleefully announced a new deal, in conjunction with the London Police and Visa and MasterCard to cut off credit card services to online music stores who the IFPI accuses of selling infringing MP3s. This is really targeting sites like MP3Fiesta, which is sort of a modern version of Allofmp3.com. Of course, what they seem to be missing is that both of these sites were examples of people, who would otherwise likely be downloading totally unauthorized versions, being willing to pay for MP3s at a much more reasonable price. What I never understood was why the music industry never realized that these sites actually showed a business model that worked. Tons of people were happy to pay for the music when the prices seemed much more reasonable. What these services really showed was how much the industry has artificially inflated the price of music.

      • Rep. Lofgren Challenges IP Czar On Legality Of Domain Seizures

        A friend of the site sent over a great video of Rep. Zoe Lofgren quizzing IP Czar Victoria Espinel about the recent domain name seizures. It’s clear that Lofgren has been well-briefed on the topic (which makes her one of very few elected officials). Lofgren has always been really good on copyright issues, so this isn’t a huge surprise, though I wish she were more vocal on some of these issues.

Clip of the Day

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, part 2

Credit: TinyOgg

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